NASHVILLE (BP) — This weekly Bible study appears in Baptist Press in a partnership with LifeWay Christian Resources of the Southern Baptist Convention. Through its Leadership and Adult Publishing team, LifeWay publishes Sunday School curricula and additional resources for all age groups.
This week’s Bible study is adapted from the Bible Studies For Life curriculum.
Bible Passages: Genesis 27:41, 33:1-11
Discussion Question: What’s a silly argument you had when you were a kid?
Food for thought by Clayton King:
The first thing I did when I got engaged was call my parents and grandparents to tell them the good news. My grandfather — equal parts straight-shooter and comedian — remarked: “Well, that’s pretty good, I guess. I just have one question. Do you like this girl?”
The question took me off guard. Why else would I have asked her to be my wife? “I love her with all my heart,” I said.
He replied, “I didn’t ask you if you loved her. I asked if you liked her. You’re going to be married to her for the rest of your life, and you’re probably going to disagree and argue and fight a lot, so if you’re going to work through conflict, you better really like this girl as a person and a friend.”
He knew a truth about all relationships: conflict happens. Broken relationships often go off track because somebody insists on having something their way. Jacob and Esau are a prime example, but they also show us the key to repairing a broken relationship.
Jacob was continually grabbing at his brother’s heel. He grabbed Esau’s birthright. He grabbed Esau’s blessing. And if he wasn’t careful, he was going to grab more than he bargained for: “Esau held a grudge against Jacob because of the blessing his father had given him. And Esau determined in his heart: ‘The days of mourning for my father are approaching; then I will kill my brother Jacob'” (Genesis 27:41).
If you’ve ever been let down or injured, if you’ve ever experienced searing anger, then you can relate to the raw emotion Esau expressed toward Jacob. Esau felt his anger was justified, and we often feel the same.
A relationship that once was a blessing can become broken.
Twenty years later, Jacob had become a changed man. More than having matured, he had moved forward in repentance and restoration. This required humility. Humility is a needed cure for the sickness of a broken relationship. Thankfully, God had also been at work in Esau’s life.
In the end, the brothers were able to reconcile because one humbled himself and the other forgave. Either one could have kept up the wall. Both were willing to knock it down. In the same way, it’s up to us to knock down the walls we’ve put up in our lives. We start here:
If you’ve wronged someone, ask forgiveness. If needed, seek to make restitution.
If someone wronged you, forgive. Period. Even if the offender never apologizes, forgive.
Our example is Jesus Christ, who came to earth for the very purpose of reconciling us to God and restoring our right standing with God. He forgave all who killed Him, and He forgives us.
Exercise humility and take the first step. Trust God with the rest.
Bible Studies For Life
Bible Studies for Life is a life-stage focused family of resources that addresses key issues in the lives of adults and students. Consisting of seven curriculum lines developed for various life and generational stages plus two others designed for deeper study, all of these resources focus on the same Bible passage for each week. Information about the seven curriculum lines and more information can be found on the Internet at LifeWay.com/BibleStudiesforLife.
Other ongoing Bible study options for all ages offered by LifeWay can be found at LifeWay.com/SundaySchool.